Sage Benefits

Latin Name

Salvia officinalis

Also Known As

Narrow-leaved sage, garden sage, Spanish sage, Salviae folium German = Salbei, French = Sauge, Spanish = Salvia, Italian = Salvia grande


The Balkans and the Mediterranean

Parts Used

The leaves or the entire soft annual shoots; essential oil

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Sage is an anti-septic and anti-biotic. It is useful with throat infections, dental abscesses, infected gums and mouth ulcers. (It can be used as a mouthwash or gargle to apply topically). It's the chemical constituent of the phenolic acids that make sage an excellent anti-bacterial agent. It is also anti-fungal and can be used to treat Candida albicans. It is astringent and therefore useful for diarrhea and intestinal bacteria. As well as its anti-septic properties Sage is also anti-spasmodic in action, so it relieves intestinal cramps and griping. In this way its good for Asthma as it reduces tension during asthma attacks. It also helps to fortify a generally debilitated nervous system. For woman Sage can reduce night sweats during the menopause, and can help reduce the flow of breast milk, and is therefore helpful during weaning.

Typical Use

Sage tincture 100ml 2-4ml x 3/day.

Folklore and History

The Romans thought sage was a sacred plant because it could save life and create it. A drink made from sage was thought to help a women conceive and Romans drank it as a tonic for mind and body. Sage was one of the most important medicinal herbs of Medieval Europe. It was believed to have the power to cure all imaginable diseases so no self respecting Apothecary's Garden could be without it. In the Middle East, it was thought to improve intelligence, and the American Colonialists used sage to cure epilepsy, insomnia, measles, seasickness and worms.


1-2.5% volatile oil (containing salvene, pinene, camphor, cineole, borneol, 30% thujone, salvene esters and sesquiterpenes), saponins, diterpene bitter principle, flavonoids, phenolic acids, salviatannin (a condensed catechin), oestrogenic substances, resin.


Alcoholic extracts of Salvia have quite a high concentration of thujone which can have toxic effects in large doses. The herb should be avoided during pregnancy because it is a uterine stimulant. The essential oil should always be used with great care as even small doses can be poisonous.